Thursday, September 29, 2011

Zbigniew Namysłowski - Kuyaviak Goes Funky (Polish Jazz Vol. 46, 1975)

Zbigniew Namysłowski - alto sax
Tomasz Szukalski - tenor sax, soprano sax
Wojciech Karolak - electric piano
Paweł Jarzębski - bass
Czesław Bartkowski - drums

Polskie Nagrania, 1975

One of the best, though short-lived groups led by Namyslowski was the 1974-76 Quintet with Karolak, Szukalski, Jarzebski and Bartkowski. These excellent jazzmen were lucky to record, in March 1975, rather unusual music by Namyslowski: the highly original pieces that sparked again the touchy problem of Polish folklore presence in jazz. Namyslowski had already earlier intrigued sensitive listeners with his probably unconscious infusing into his music some characteristics of the Polish Mountainers' folklore ("Siodmawka","Piatawka"),but only now this side of his creative imagination showed itself so strongly. The centerpiece of this record is the three-movement title composition in 15/8 meter. Here we can enjoy contrasting tempos and moods, mediations and chantings, bass ostinatos, obstinate shifting of two chords, and, in the last section, rock-like repetitive rhythm-patterns, moving back into pensive, melancholy chants that finally fade away to end the piece. But even here the folk colouring stems not form any methodical background studies or intentions.

Namyslowski simply allows his musical nature to pronounce itself freely, and exactly such a spontaneity is what makes it precious from the jazz standpoint. In "Sad Little Johnny", the first pastoral section is followed by the busy funk rhythms and free sax improvisations. Also in the "Quiet Afternoon" the prolonged and beautiful immersion in poetic meditation finds its momentary contrast in the ragged alto solo, backed by electric piano and drums, after which the music returns to the dreamy mood. "Little Lamb Lost" strayed obviously somewhere in the Polish Tatra Mountains, for in spite of rock rhythms (even with their help) the motifs and scales of Podhale region are very much evident.

Small sample of magnificent music from this album:

Author of text: Andrzej Schmidt

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